The Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services’ NCD Prevention and Control Program has trained some 14 community Peer Educators to support Diabetes and Hypertension patient care. This took place in Yaounde on the 16th and 17th of April, 2019.
According to an Abstract released by the Journal of Global Health reports on Pilot Peers Health Education for Non-Communicable Diseases Prevention by Lemlem W. Gebremariam et al, peer education is one of the commonest approaches to Primary Health Care Interventions. Education by peers is effective in changing attitudes and behaviour, some of which root deeply in social and cultural norms.
Peers can be role models who help increase self-efficacy for self-management of chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. Peer Educators themselves retain the learned knowledge and improve their own behaviour as they participate in this exercise and promote the health of their peers.
The Fourteen community trained Educators came from some ten CBC Health Services’ facilities receiving support from the World Diabetes Foundation to strengthen the functioning of Diabetes Clinics in CBC Health Services’ facilities including Ndu, Bamenda, Banso, Douala, Bafoussam, Yaoundé, Banyo, Kumba, Mutengene and Mbingo,
Participants were made to understand more about Diabetes and Hypertension, their effects and follow up parameters like how to measure and record Fasting blood sugar and blood pressure their normal values, how to self- measure, medication and storage, feet care and footwear choices. They were also drilled on the roles and qualities of a good Peer Educator, including how to conduct home visits, calls, measure parameters, and provide reports to the facilities; being available, committed, good listeners, tolerant, and ready to learn.
Upon return, their primary assignment is to help in improving the quality of patient care in the community and to reach out to the whole population indirectly. We want the people living in the community to live well, so if they can preach this, the patients will have quality care not necessarily coming to the hospital but reaching out to diabetes and hypertension patients in the community,” explained Dr. Akumbom Caroline, one of the key facilitators of this training and Head of the Out Patient Department and Diabetes Services at Mboppi Baptist Hospital.
The CBC Health Services’ Programme Manager for the Non-Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Program (NCD PCP), Mr. Ferdinant Mbidzenyuy explained that “As part of our NCD prevention and Control program’s community-based interventions, Peer educators are meant to bridge the gap between the facility and the community. In case the client doesn’t make it to any health facility for one reason or the other, the peer educator is a key member of the follow-up team, and can be assigned to follow up and encourage the client to adhere to management.
We don’t want our Diabetes Educators to go out into the community to follow up patients when the possibility of an effective task shifting is possible. The Peer Educators will serve as their extended hand. Basically, they will be involved in follow up at a distance (calls), home visit, visit reports and weekly assignment with the Diabetes and Hypertension unit and other capacity building activities,” added Mbidzenyuy.
One of the newly trained Peer Educators expressed satisfaction for being empowered as a Peer educator “I am very glad about this opportunity, I have been empowered to become a peer educator, I have been living with hypertension for more than 20 years and diabetes for more than 7 years now. Opportunities like what the CBC Health Services has given us today is really a boost to our morals that we can make it in life with these conditions if we make proper lifestyle choices,” testified the happy new Peer Educator as another corroborated saying “Today, diabetes has promoted us to be leaders in the field,” thanks to the CBC Health Services team.